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Christian Wages

The English word "wages" originated from an Old French word, wager, which meant to pledge, as in an employer pledging to pay a determined amount for work that is done (the word "wager" originated from the same root).

A number of different Hebrew and Greek words of the Holy Scriptures are translated as "wages":

  • the Hebrew word pronounced mas-koh-reth which means reward

  • the Hebrew word pronounced saw-kawhr which means payment of contract

  • the Hebrew word pronounced peh-ool-law which means work, as in making a living

  • the Hebrew word pronounced khin-nawm which means no cost

  • the Greek word pronounced op-see-nee-on which means a soldier's pay

  • the Greek word pronounced mis-thos which means payment for hire

"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord"

One of the earliest wage agreements recorded in Bible History was that of Jacob, who the LORD God (see Christ The Creator and 'Before Abraham Was, I AM') later renamed as "Israel" (see The Origin Of 'Israel') The agreement was between Jacob and his uncle Laban for the marriage of Laban's daughter Rachel (a common practice among ancient societies).

The Holy Scriptures

"29:15 And Laban said unto Jacob, Because thou art my brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what shall thy wages be?

29:16 And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 29:17 Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured. 29:18 And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.

29:19 And Laban said, It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me. 29:20 And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her." (Genesis 29:15-20 KJV)

When Laban violated the agreement by substituting Leah for Rachel, Jacob made a new wage contract with Laban to marry them both.

"29:22 And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast. 29:23 And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her. 29:24 And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid.

29:25 And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me?

29:26 And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. 29:27 Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.

29:28 And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also. 29:29 And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid. 29:30 And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years." (Genesis 29:22-30 KJV)

When Laban again attempted to take advantage of Jacob, the LORD intervened with Jacob's Ringstreaked, Speckled And Spotted.

"31:7 And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me. 31:8 If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ringstreaked shall be thy hire; then bare all the cattle ringstreaked. 31:9 Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me." (Genesis 31:7-9 KJV)

"31:40 Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes. 31:41 Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle: and thou hast changed my wages ten times.31:42 Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen mine affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight." (Genesis 31:40-42 KJV)

Other wage contracts were recorded in the Bible. The Pharaoh's daughter paid the actual mother of Moses to nurse him (see The Goshen Genocide, The Birth Of Moses and Palace Prince To Sinai Shepherd).

"2:7 Then said his sister [i.e. Miriam] to Pharaoh's daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?

2:8 And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child's mother. 2:9 And Pharaoh's daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it.

2:10 And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water." (Exodus 2:7-10 KJV)

The Law of the LORD specified that workers were to be paid fair wages; failure to do so was regarded as theft.

"19:13 Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning." (Leviticus 19:13 KJV)

"22:13 Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; that useth his neighbour's service without wages, and giveth him not for his work" (Jeremiah 22:13 KJV)

Empires, ancient or modern, cannot fund their imperial armies by means of the own country alone - taxes would be too high. Most wars were/are started to pay for wars i.e. "take her spoil, and take her prey; and it shall be the wages for his army" (the prime reason that once an empire begins to militarily deflate, it does so at an ever-increasing rate because the foreign funding is not only being lost to the imperial power, much of it is thereafter being spent by the invaded nations defending themselves against their former foreign ruler).

"29:18 Son of man, Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon caused his army to serve a great service against Tyrus: every head was made bald, and every shoulder was peeled: yet had he no wages, nor his army, for Tyrus, for the service that he had served against it: 29:19 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will give the land of Egypt unto Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; and he shall take her multitude, and take her spoil, and take her prey; and it shall be the wages for his army." (Ezekiel 29:18-19 KJV)

Some Roman troops became Christians. The Messiah told them to stop demanding "protection" money from the people of the land that the Romans had invaded.

"3:14 And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages." (Luke 3:14 KJV)

Tithing is a Biblical principle in which failure to do so does not save money, but results in the LORD lessening the blessings of wages that one already has.

"1:3 Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying, 1:4 Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste?

1:5 Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. 1:6 Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.

1:7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways." (Haggai 1:3-7 KJV)

True Christian Living is a matter of living so that "he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal."

"4:36 And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together." (John 4:36 KJV)

On the other hand, for the unrepentant, "the wages of sin is death."

"6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23 KJV)

Fact Finder: What is it that true Christians are "working" for?
See Works Means Obedience

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Copyright © Wayne Blank